The dangers of our “Social Cocktail” - Screen Time, Social Media and Psychological Manipulation

The new Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma” is extraordinarily eye opening and insightful laying out the deliberate psychological manipulation perpetrated by social media. It’s like a potent drug not ingested but consumed. Statistics show that US teens use screens more than seven hours a day on average which doesn’t include time spent for homework and school.

In family law I increasingly see parents allow their children on their devices for very long periods of time and quite simply use screen time as babysitters. Screen time affects developing brains. Social mediate manipulates your brain, preferences, interests and thus has a huge affect on one’s beliefs, feelings and life. There is correlation between how screen time affects mental health. (depression, anxiety and headaches) There is correlation between the amount of screen time a child is exposed to and lower scores on language and thinking tests and thinning of the cortex of the brain which is the area of the brain related to reasoning and critical thinking. The risks need to be assessed with screen usage and how it affects your brain.

Consider top tech world leaders are not only intent on restricting their children’s screen time, but are requiring their staff to do the same. It is well documented that Bill Gates (Microsoft), Sundar Pichai (Google), Evan Spiegel (Snapchat) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) limit how much technology their children are allowed to use. Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks) has installed routers and management software to manage his children usage and shut off their phone activity.

It is important to develop healthy boundaries for you and your children regarding the exposure to technology. Strategies that can be employed are digital curfew, banning devices at the family dinner table, temporarily remove an app that is overused and delete social media apps.

While there is certainly is value to screen time exposure and a variety of apps, balance is key.

While children don’t understand the risks they are taking the adults in their life do or should.

“If CEO’s of Microsoft, Google, Snapchat and Facebook limit screen time for their children, should you?”